Hundreds in Dawson Creek were left powerless after an equipment failure occurred on Thursday morning.
They were left in the dark from around 10 a.m. in the morning until a little after 3 p.m., when the power was restored.
Initial reports showed that 3,000 B.C. Hydro customers were affected by the outage in an area spanning from 21st St. in the northwest, south to the dangerous good routes, and going west of the city.
However, Bob Gammer, a BC Hydro spokesman, said that these were probably the result of the protective services of the electrical grid kicking in to protect them from further outages.
Up to 300 residents in areas east of 8th Street and south of Highway 49 experienced more prolonged power loss. The BC Hydro website reported two instances of equipment failure and a blown-out transformer near 5th Street and 114th Avenue.
A transformer blow-out caused the initial power outage, which affected 270 to 300 people, and after this transformer blew out, an insulator on a different line failed, Gammer said.
In order to prevent a larger power outage and to isolate the areas caused by the initial power outages, B.C. Hydro chose to briefly douse the power in a larger portion of the city.
After this brief outage, which affected thousands of B.C. Hydro customers, only about 300 people were left without power, in areas south of Highway 49 and east of 8th Street.
?What we find is small cracks can develop over time,? he said. ?The surface of the insulator can break down.?
The insulator is the portion of the electrical transformer that regulates electricity. Without it, the electrical transformer can overload.
Lower temperatures also contributed to the transformer blow-out.
?Cold weather had a role in this,? he added.
According to The Weather Network website, temperatures dipped down to an average of -25 degrees Celsius from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
However, this is not the first time that this happened in Dawson Creek this winter or this year. Rick Michaud, owner of Stuie?s Diner, said that events like these have become an annual occurrence for people like him, who expect it to happen on very cold days of the year.
?Last year it was 5:00 until 8 p.m. right through the rush hour,? he said. ?We lost a lot of customers.?
Michaud said that he was able to call BC Hydro, whose representatives told him that power would be back on by 11 a.m.
However, by 1:50 p.m., power was still off in his area.
?What happened with outage is that (the call centre) probably provided an initial estimate? based on history to restore an outage,? said Gammer. ?Later on (BC Hydro workers) sorted out, saw how long it will take.?
The power outage continued to occurred during another busy period for Michaud, who was forced to turn away approximately 40 potential lunch customers.
However, one elderly couple decided to come in anyway at around 11:30, choosing to come in from the cold for a little soup, even though it could not have been very hot.
?I don?t know if they can prepare any better,? he said. ?If the transformer?s going to blow, it?s going to blow,? said Michaud.
He questioned whether or not BC Hydro should replace the aging electrical transformers that caused these outages.
Gammer said he could not confirm whether or not the changes had recently happened or were planning to happen, but said that BC Hydro monitors the situation constantly.
This is not the first power outage to occur in Dawson Creek this winter. On Nov. 22, approximately 1,800 BC Hydro customers south of 7th Street were left without power for approximately an hour.
Other outages occurred last Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, but these power outages only affected less than 75 people and were resolved in less than an hour. Two of these power outages occurred when birds hit the wire, while the others occurred because of unspecified causes, according to the website.
Gammer also said that he could not confirm why these recent outages occurred, as he would need to consult with the line manager further.